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Remember Japan Mr Rudd? It's just east of China.



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Fri, 6th June 2008 REMEMBER JAPAN MR RUDD? IT'S JUST EAST OF CHINA

The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Shadow Minister for Trade (to 22 September 2008)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will have the eyes of more than just photographers on him as he finally makes his first trip to Japan next week, more than six months after taking office and two months after his world tour that excluded Australia's largest export market.

Shadow Minister for Trade Ian Macfarlane said Mr Rudd had a lot of ground to make up following his bungled handling of Australia's relationship with its international trading partners.

''Since taking office the Prime Minister has refused to move outside his comfort zone with China,'' Mr Macfarlane said.

''In the process, Mr Rudd has created a feeling of uneasiness about the exclusivity of the Australia-China relationship under his Government.

''The Rudd Labor Government has also handled its interaction with Asian nations in a clumsy manner, generating concerns over its decision to pull out of the quadrilateral dialogue with the US, Japan and India and its move to reverse the Howard Government's agreement to export uranium to India, solely for use in generating clean power.

''And Mr Rudd's latest grand plan for an Asia-Pacific union does little to depart from this trend - showing scant evidence of consultation and no specific details, but has all the hallmarks of being thrown together at the last minute on the eve of the Prime Minister's face-saving trip.

''Australia's international trade relationships deserve more than Mr Rudd's ad hoc policy.

''While China remains an important trading partner for Australia, Mr Rudd must use this trip to send a firm signal that Australia remains committed to continuing and strengthening its bilateral relationships across Asia.

''Mr Rudd and his Ministers cannot afford any more slip ups. Australian exporters and investors are depending on them to learn from their mistakes.''